Perth May Not Be Able To Host 5th Ashes Test Due To COVID-19
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Perth May Not Be Able To Host 5th Ashes Test Due To COVID-19

Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au
Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au

Perth might not be able to host the forthcoming fifth Ashes Test due to Covid restrictions. Optus Stadium in Perth may not be able to host the fifth and final match of the Ashes series in January next year as a surging Covid-19 pandemic is seeing border controls.

Serious doubts are raised on whether the Optus Stadium in Perth would be able to host the fifth and final match of the Ashes series in January next year as a surging Covid-19 pandemic is seeing border controls being implemented more strictly.

Optus Stadium, Perth,
Optus Stadium, Perth, (Photo: IANS)

Perth Test: Cricket Australia Will Find It Difficult To Stage A Test At Perth

West Australia has taken stringent measures to control the Covid-19 pandemic and is unlikely to open its borders to New South Wales and Victoria this year-end and possibly the beginning of next year.  Mike McKenna, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Optus Stadium — the venue for the fifth Ashes Test from January 14-18 — said that “there’s no way the summer could go ahead as scheduled in the current climate”.

“But I think the COVID situation even now would make you question that scheduling (of the Ashes Test). The direction they’re going in, it’s going to be very difficult for Cricket Australia to try to find a program that’s going to work easily. They’re no doubt thinking about that now,” McKenna told SEN’s Dwayne’s World on Thursday.

Perth stadium CEO Mike McKenna
Perth Stadium CEO Mike McKenna (ABC News: Jacob Kagi)

“Right at the moment, it would not be possible to bring a team from New South Wales where they’re playing a Sydney Test to Perth, it just would not happen the way things are going. These things change, I think Cricket Australia is going to spend some time having a look at that.”

While Mike McKenna said that though Perth Stadium could be in doubt to host any fixtures, the “Optus Stadium would be happy to help out Cricket Australia if they were forced to move forthcoming Tests from other venues pending COVID restrictions”.

“We’re ready to help Cricket Australia should they need to move Tests from other venues. But, who knows what the situation will be here, in Queensland or where South Australia might be by that part of the summer. We’re only hoping that we stay clear of COVID, but at some stage West Australia will have to make some decisions about borders and opening up to COVID. Who knows what that all looks like and when,” he said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there won’t be any kind of special arrangement for the visiting England team that will tour the country in December for the Ashes. The historic Ashes series has been under an ambivalent situation as England players remain sceptical and they also sought more clarity from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) regarding the travel restrictions in Australia.

Ashes 2021/22 Will See 5 Tests Starting On December 8, 2021, And Ending On January 18, 2022

At this stage, the first Test match between Australia and England is scheduled to begin on December 8th at The Gabba in Brisbane. From thereon the sides will meet in Adelaide, before moving to Melbourne for the annual Boxing Day Test and Sydney for the New Year’s Test. The Ashes Test series will conclude in Perth, with the final match beginning on January 14th.

England(AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
England (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

 

DATE VENUE
December 8-12 The Gabba, Brisbane
December 16-20 Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
December 26-30 Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
January 5-9 Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
January 14-18 Perth Stadium, Perth

Australia is the defending holders of the Ashes going into the series, having won in 2017–18 with the 2019 Ashes series ending in a draw. The series will be part of the 2021–2023 ICC World Test Championship. As many as 10 England players could be forced to pull out of the Ashes tour of Australia if an agreement is not arrived at over travel and quarantine arrangements for their families.

Australia has some of the strictest COVID-19 quarantine regulations in place. England’s multi-format players, such as Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Mark Wood, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, and Chris Woakes, wouldn’t be willing to spend up about four months away from their families as they will fly to Australia straight from the UAE, where the T20 World Cup will be held. Some of those will also participate in the second half of the IPL 2021. There is also a prospect of a postponed Ashes tour.

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